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Long-term career outlook for West Michigan released July 25

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The latest long-term regional employment projection for West Michigan was presented during a special event hosted today by the State of Michigan at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. Based on labor market projections, the West Michigan Career Outlook highlights the careers that will be in the highest demand by education group through 2030 in the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance, which includes the following 13 counties: Allegan; Barry; Ionia; Kent; Lake; Mason; Mecosta; Montcalm; Muskegon; Newaygo; Oceana; Osceola; and Ottawa.

"With a projected 91,000 annual openings and 9.7 percent growth, West Michigan is on course to have strong growth above the statewide average from 2020 to 2030," said Evan Linskey, research manager with the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, which is housed in the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB). Linskey presented the outlook findings before an audience of local business and community leaders.

The presentation of the West Michigan Career Outlook provided a sneak peek at projections ahead of the Aug. 22 release of career outlook reports for all other regions in the state. The reports feature high-demand jobs based on education level and the top jobs in STEM careers, those occupations with a science, technology, engineering, or math background. Data presented in the reports are not only helpful to policymakers and elected officials, but they students and jobseekers make important decisions about their future.

Following Linskey’s presentation of the career outlook data, a panel of state and community leaders discussed Michigan’s investment in vocational, career, and technical education to help carry forward Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of ensuring anyone can “Make it in Michigan.”

“Career outlook data is critical to the work we are doing to drive better, more equitable outcomes for communities and people across the state,” said Susan Corbin, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity director. “We are working closely with state and local partners to continually make data-driven strategies and investments that give Michiganders the skills and resources needed to pursue these in-demand careers, while supporting Michigan businesses with the talent to thrive.”

“The West Michigan Career Outlook is another strategic way to broaden the conversation and continue the integration of talent and economic development, connecting the education, community, and economic systems to collaborate to provide inclusive opportunities,” said panelist TaRita Johnson, senior vice president of talent and diversity at The Right Place in Grand Rapids. “This includes developing a robust talent ecosystem which intentionally eliminate barriers, provides access, education, and upskilling opportunities.”

“The West Michigan Career Outlook report shows there will be a growing number of good paying jobs in the insurance and financial services industries in West Michigan, as these industries meet the future needs of Michigan’s families and businesses,” said panelist Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. “These industries need Michiganders of all backgrounds and skill sets, from sales to marketing to IT and accounting. Thanks to Gov. Whitmer’s leadership, the balanced and bipartisan fiscal year 2024 budget includes critical investments to help Michiganders build the skills they need to fill these in-demand jobs, both now and in the future.”

Education was a key topic in the day’s panel discussion. This year’s state budget makes Michigan one of the lowest-cost states to become a teacher, with tuition-free training, student loan repayment and stipends while student teacher.

“State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and I agree that the K-12 budget the governor signed last week will help address the teacher shortage faced across the state, as well as develop and support great teachers who lay the educational foundation for students to meet the employment needs for the variety of in-demand careers in Michigan for decades,” said Michigan Department of Education Chief Deputy Superintendent Dr. Sue C. Carnell, who also took part in the panel discussion.  “Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in teacher recruitment and retention, support, mentoring, and early childhood education to build a stronger education system from pre-kindergarten to post-secondary.”

Michelle Lange, director of DTMB and moderator of the panel discussion summarized the day’s discussion.

“The data in these lists are critically important to our elected officials and policymakers and highly valuable to students and jobseekers as well. Our goal is to provide our education and workforce partners with accurate, timely information to help Michiganders find their way to high-demand, high-wage jobs now and into the future.”

Subscribe to receive the regional career outlooks and new Michigan labor market data as soon as they are released at More statistical information about Michigan's economy, labor force, population and more is available at or through the MiEconomy app available for iOS and Android.


WMI Career Outlook Evan Linskey

Evan Linskey, research manager with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget's Center for Data & Analytics, presents the West Michigan Career Outlook through 2030 at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. Photo credit: Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

WMI Career Outlook panel

Panelists discuss the West Michigan Career Outlook through 2030 at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. From left to right: Michelle Lange, director, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget; Evan Linskey, research manager, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget's Center for Data & Analytics; Anita G. Fox, director, Michigan Department of Insurance & Financial Services;  Susan Corbin, director, Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity; TaRita Johnson, senior vice president, The Right Place; Dr. Sue Carnell, chief deputy superintendent, Michigan Department of Education. Photo credit: Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.



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